Bidding to solidify his grasp on a fifth Hong Kong jockeys’ championship, Joao Moreira expects Galaxy Witness to outline already imposing credentials for next season’s Four-Year-Old Classic Series when the unbeaten youngster contests the Class 2 Mount Cameron Handicap over 1600m at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Moreira holds a 125-120 buffer over fellow four-time Hong Kong champion Zac Purton with 10 meetings left in the 2021/22 season and the Brazilian is confident Caspar Fownes-trained Galaxy Witness can deliver vital breathing space.
“When you have a horse that goes out there and wins all the time, you couldn’t be more excited, he is definitely a promising horse,” Moreira said before referencing a 1700m trial win at Happy Valley on 28 May.
“His trial there was outstanding. He has done very well, as we expected, and he has a little bit more experience now and he’s a horse I’m looking forward to ride at the weekend.”
Looking to next season’s Four-Year-Old Classic Series, which features the Hong Kong Classic Mile (1600m), Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m) and culminates in the BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m), Moreira said: “What he has done so far, he’s been quite impressive.
“He would be one of the horses that we all should have in mind for the Classic Series next season and he deserves a chance.”
Moreira partners Bundle Of Charm in the Class 4 Shek Nga Shan Handicap (1200m), aiming to bolster John Size’s hopes of a record 12th trainers’ title.
“After having a run under his belt, I presume he’s going to do things better,” Moreira said of the All Too Hard gelding who successfully debuted over 1200m at Sha Tin on 22 May.
“He’s a horse who everyone should keep watching because he’s got a bright future here. It’s a bonus for John Size’s stable, who is running for the (trainers’) championship. Hopefully we are not wrong about this horse – I think there are more wins to come.”
Size currently trails Lor 81-78 and Lor – who worked for the Australian as an assistant trainer before being granted his own licence in 2017/18 – is hopeful Moreira can extract the best from former Australian galloper Keefy in the Class 3 Needle Hill Handicap (1400m).
“His two runs so far have been good, hopefully he keeps improving but the only thing is the draw (14), which is a bit tricky,” Lor said. “Joao knows the horse, so hopefully he can run a good race.”
Bracing for a furious Size onslaught over the next 10 meetings, Lor said: “We will both fight until the last day. I will try but I think everyone knows my old boss is a really strong trainer, so I need to be careful.”
David Hayes unveils Global Harmony in the Class 3 Mount Nicholson Handicap (1200m) in the programme finale on Sunday, with Zac Purton optimistic the last-start winner in Australia can impact quickly in new surroundings.
“He’s a tricky one because he hasn’t got the start right yet, he keeps missing the start and in Hong Kong – especially coming in on the rating (63) he’s on – you can’t really do much wrong. If he gets the start wrong, it’s going to be very hard for him,” Purton said.
“So, we’ve just got to hope that he can get it right and if he does – some of his trials have been okay – he should be able to run a decent race. He seems to have settled into the environment well enough, hopefully he can get the job done and start off on the right foot.”
Formerly known as Pagan when trained in Australia by Hayes’s sons Ben and JD Hayes, the Shamexpress gelding won a 1300m maiden at Sandown in December under Brett Prebble before being transferred to Hong Kong. – Hong Kong Jockey Club
Picture: Hong Kong Jockey Club
Race 1: Griffin race to kick off the card. Lucky Banner looks the one to beat based on current form after leading and giving a good sight last start, beaten late into second place by a neck. Forever Friends well prepared for debut and watch the betting. Our Precious having second start and can improve with experience after a fair fourth first-up. Happy Won has the services of a top jockey today with Purton taking the ride and must be respected. Lean Hero fair trial ahead of his debut, watch the betting.
Race 2: Asian One cannot be ignored at Class 5 level as he takes the drop in grade here and he looks to map the winner from gate 3. Flying Mighty can easily win this on best form, but he is a roarer who can be hard to catch. Purton remains in the saddle and he has to be considered. Diamond Star Moreira jumps back into the saddle here and expect a good run. Go Go Sixteen generally gets back in the running but dashes strongly home. Mr Aldan drops down in grade and start following, he should be improving.
Race 3: Bundle Of Charm impressive debut winner from the John Size yard who is hard to beat here. He has drawn wide again like his debut run, but he has brilliant gate speed and should be handy. War Of Courage down in class in this race and should perform better after trialling well recently. Dragon Kingdom showed good speed to lead last start and gave a good sight, fading late after running fast early splits. Spartan Missile changed trainer and trialled very well recently. Sweet Diamond recent barrier trial was solid, suggesting a good run can be expected.
Race 4: Forte has a chance based on past form in this class of race and he has drawn perfectly for the straight course. It’s a weak Class 4 race and he stands out as the one to beat. El Jefe generally gets back in the running but dashes strongly home, look for him flying home late under Moreira. Flying High should be highly suited by the drop back in distance and he has drawn the right part of the track. Amazing Rocky looks a solid good chance based on last start’s third place. Amazing Innovator newcomer who trialled okay and can run well, but the betting could be telling.
Race 5: Double Show finished powerfully with fastest sectional time ranking last start for an eye-catching fourth place. The rise in distance appears to suit and he should gain a sweet run in transit from barrier 1 under Hewitson. Stunning Impact last start winner who retains good form and can run well again having drawn ideally low in stall 3. Leather Vanguard resuming from a break and trialled well recently, he should measure up here under Purton from a low gate. Good News last run was better than it reads and do not dismiss. Circuit Mighty best run to date was last start and appears to be improving.
Race 6: E Rainbow racing well with good sectional time rankings and his last start fifth place was better than it reads as he had no luck early out of the gates but caught the eye late. With Purton taking the ride, he looks primed to score third-up. Vitralite changed stables recently and has improved after an eye-catching third place last start. Tycoon Jewellery having second start and can improve with experience after clearly needing the run first-up. Sparky Star was an easy last start winner and must be respected. Double Six Pop had excuses last start and forget the run.
Race 7: Campione go on the win two starts ago at this track and distance and give a chance to bounce back here after he failed to impress at Happy Valley last time. From gate 2, he should ping the gates and give them something to run down. Red Desert appears to be very well suited by the track and distance of this race. Ka Ying Master was an easy last start winner and must be respected. Mclucky reaching peak form third-up here and can go close here. Toronado Phantom last start winner who rises in class but he looks capable of measuring up.
Race 8: Galaxy Witness quality three-year-old who remains unbeaten to date from four starts and will go close again, despite the rise in class and distance. He should map softly from the low gate and be too strong late. Running Glory nice four-year-old from the John Size yard with a good chance to upset the favourite here. Celestial Power talented galloper who is resuming from a break, he looked well in recent trials. California Ten caught wide last start and still ran well and have to respect his chances with Purton riding. Bourbonaire remains a maiden galloper but clearly gets a chance to win here after a narrow last-start defeat to stable mate Running Glory.
Race 9: Everyone’s Victory finished powerfully with fastest sectional time ranking last start when fourth first-up. Second-up with Moreira taking the ride and can bounce back to winning ways. Flying Dragon has a better chance on this surface and look for improvement with Purton taking the ride from gate 2. Lightning Bolt one of several winning chances in an open race. Sunny Boy had genuine excuses last start and consider again; he should be improving from the low gate here. Lucky Fun can improve second-up from a break at this track and distance.
Race 10: Escape Route more than capable of winning again in this race after posting an impressive last-start victory at this track and distance. Captain Win has had no luck recently and could run a cheeky race. Keefy last run suggested a win was very near but he will need early luck from his wide gate. He does have the early toe to get across however. Master Hero weakened last run after showing speed but expect improvement second-up. Golden Link not out of it and may be able to sneak for a place chance.
Race 11: Global Harmony newcomer from Australia who has trialled well for debut on several occasions, with Purton putting in all the work aboard him. He looks good enough to be a winning chance on debut for the David Hayes yard. Power Koepp showed no interest last start, forget the run. Excellent Daddy resuming from a break and trialled well recently and he should map the winner at some stage from gate 3. Private Rocket showed good speed to lead last start and gave a good sight. Star Brite last start winner who remains in the same grade.